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Teaching AQA A-Level Philosophy for the First Time

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This course is intended to provide teachers who are about to start or in their first couple of years teaching AQA A level Philosophy, with all they need to teach their course effectively and well. It will equip delegates with the knowledge and skills needed to become a confident, successful A level Philosophy teacher, ideologies and analysis of contemporary politics, both in terms of classroom teaching ideas and preparation for the terminal examinations in these skill areas. This course brings a wealth of both examiner and practitioner experience to provide teachers with tips on how to overcome issues in the classroom and to guide students to optimise their examination performance. The course will reflect current challenges and any modifications to the exam system.


  • Gain strategies on how to plan the course and manage the content in a two-year course
  • Learn what level of depth is appropriate
  • Learn how to ensure students keep up with latest philosophical issues and how to apply them to their existing understanding
  • Develop a confident understanding of the specifications, assessment and mark schemes to develop the skills student need
  • Analyse a range of sample answers to understand the standard and how students can achieve it

Overview of A-Level Philosophy including challenges and what to expect from pupils

10.00 – 10.30am
  • Structure Teaching the AQA A Level Philosophy specification: how should the course be structured to best support students’ learning?
  • Ensuring students and teachers hit the ground running in September – introducing the scheme of work and baseline assessment
  • Recognising which areas will be the most challenging for you and how to address these issues
  • Managing the content: planning and structuring; how can it fit into a two-year course? What level of depth is appropriate?
  • Recognising which areas will be most challenging for you and how to address these issues
  • Teaching Philosophy in an era of rapid change

Discussion: coffee break

10.30 – 10.45am

How to Effectively Teach Epistemology

10.45 – 12.00pm
  • Setting up the course: the how, what, and why of delivering a course in epistemology
  • Appearance versus reality: do we perceive the world as it is? Some thoughts on perception
  • Are we blank slates? The tabula rasa account of mind and its implications
  • The tripartite analysis of knowledge: is knowledge justified, true belief, and if not, what?!
  • Effective delivery: a nuts-and-bolts approach to epistemological pedagogy
  • Schemes of work, booklets, and assessment: a comprehensive set of tools and materials to successfully introduce and deliver the course (and how to use them!)

Key ideas for teaching Moral Philosophy

12.00 – 12.50pm
  • Why should I be moral? How to introduce a course on moral philosophy
  • Happiness, duty, or virtue?
  • Eating meat and eating people: some thoughts on practical ethics
  • Do moral statements express truths? Metaethical questions and how to deal with them
  • Morality: some thoughts on delivery
  • Putting it all into practice: how to develop, maintain, and grow a course in moral philosophy

Lunch and informal discussion

12.50 – 1.50pm

The Exam – what is expected

1.50 – 2.40pm
  • What the examiners are looking for and how to achieve it
  • The importance of shorter (3, 5, 12) mark questions and how to use this to your advantage
  • Talking the talk: the importance of terminology
  • Essay writing and how to nail it: some thoughts on insight, initiative, and imagination
  • Scaffolding, retrieval and how to embed these within a successful philosophy course

Discussion: afternoon tea

2.40 – 2.45pm

Planning and Structuring

2.45 – 3.30pm
  • Milestones for success, what and how should students have mastered by the end of year 12
  • Benchmark assessments: the planning and achievement of success
  • The 50:50 approach: bridging the gap between GCSEs and higher education
  • ‘5-minute marking’ and what it involves
  • Some thoughts on assessment: how to halve marking load and double efficiency
  • Effective feedback
  • The scheme of work and how to use it efficiently


Wednesday 29 November 2023

Please select your preferred date

London | Wednesday 29 November 2023

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Oliver McAdoo has taught A Level Philosophy in one of the largest and most successful departments in the country for over 20 years. He is an experienced AQA Philosophy Senior Examiner, Reviser, Specification Developer and Scrutineer, delivering CPD for the exam board at centres up and down the UK. He has produced textbooks for, amongst others, Nelson Thornes (A Level Philosophy) and Routledge (A Level Critical Thinking) and has delivered papers at philosophy conferences alongside some of the foremost speakers in the field. Currently a consultant for Cambridge University and Principal Examiner for Cambridge International Examinations (both in the UK and Singapore) he is every bit as passionate about the teaching and assessment of philosophy as he is about the subject itself, a passion which comes across in his delivery which is widely regarded as inspirational.


  • NQTs in Philosophy
  • Philosophy teachers in their first few years of teaching A-Level Philosophy
  • Heads of Religious Studies


  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

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